The cover of the book Plantifully Simple by Kiki Nelson, next to a photo of Kiki Nelson outside, kneeling down to lace her sneakers

Kiki Nelson’s Tips for Walking Your Way to Better Health, from Her New Book, ‘Plantifully Simple’

By Kiki Nelson,

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Editor’s Note: Author and whole-food, plant-based success story Kiki Nelson is back with a brand-new book! Out July 9, PLANTIFULLY SIMPLE features 100 all-new plant-based recipes from Nelson, along with meal plans and practical tips for losing weight healthfully and mindfully. In the following excerpt, Nelson—who lost 70 pounds after adopting a WFPB diet—highlights the benefits of walking and offers her best advice for getting your steps in each day. For another taste of PLANTIFULLY SIMPLE, check out Kiki Nelson’s Hawaiian Street Cart Tacos recipe!

Walking is one of the easiest ways to hit your movement goal and create a consistent caloric deficit, no matter what your preferred primary form of exercise is. You can stroll with your thoughts (or music or a podcast), stroll with a friend, stroll with your family, stroll on your way to do errands, stroll in nature, stroll in the city, stroll anywhere, anytime! It may not always feel like you’re doing much, but your body reaps major benefits from all that consistent, prolonged, gentle movement. It has the ability to:

  • · Boost circulation
  • · Stabilize your blood sugar
  • · Increase your energy levels throughout the day
  • · Reduce muscle stiffness and joint pain
  • · Reduce high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • · Improve digestive health
  • · Improve your sleep
  • · Improve your mood
  • · Pretty much improve your life all around

Consider this: According to Dan Buettner, the founder of Blue Zones and an expert on the healthiest populations around the world, the people on this planet with the longest life spans are those who average about 12,000 steps a day (about five miles of walking). Over time, I suggest working up to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Yes, it’s a lot, and it does take some mindful effort, but the upside is that it also happens to burn an average of four hundred calories. Begin with a smaller goal that feels realistic for you (I started with 5,000 steps) and increase the number every week. I highly recommend that you invest in a step counter. Even if your phone has one, buy one that you wear, because it will be more accurate and you don’t have to worry about always having your phone on you. (It can be nice to unplug, especially while getting in a much-needed movement break.)

10 Tips for Getting Those Steps In

1. Enlist a friend to join you in the same goal. You can walk together or just send each other daily texts showing you completed your steps for the day. Make it fun!

2. Break up your workday with mini-walks—one in the morning, another at lunch, and a third after work.

3. Park at the back of the parking lot. All those errands start to add up!

4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. (And give yourself a good reason to take multiple trips, like bringing up the laundry or groceries in batches.)

5. Instead of a coffee break, or after you’ve eaten lunch, take a brisk walking break. Invite a co-worker to help pass the time and create built-in accountability—win-win!

6. Take a walking break during phone meetings and walk while you talk. The same goes for calls with your friends or family. It doesn’t have to be outside; laps around your house count!

7. Consider investing in a walking desk (a desk attached to a treadmill). You’d be amazed how productive you can be while slowly walking on a treadmill—and how many steps you can get in over the course of the day.

8. If you take your kids to sports practice, walk laps around the field or court.

9. Make walks the new happy hour. It’s the perfect way to catch up with friends while also getting in steps. Bonus points if you bring healthy smoothies to sip on while you walk.

10. Get the family involved on the weekends. Choose new trails and parks for your adventures together.

Excerpted from PLANTIFULLY SIMPLE: 100 Plant-Based Recipes and Meal Plans for Health and Weight-Loss © 2024 by Kiki Nelson. Reprinted by permission of Simon Element, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, LLC.

About the Author

Headshot of Kiki Nelson

About the Author

Kiki Nelson

Kiki Nelson lost 70 pounds after adopting a plant-based diet and reduced her risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Born in the Yucatán Peninsula, Kiki lives in Colorado with her family. You can find her at @PlantifulKiki on Instagram and YouTube.
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